The Love Story Part 9 - Tell Me What Your Heart Wants...

        Tell me what you're feeling
        I can take the pain
       Tell me what your heart wants
       such a simple thing...

Ray LaMontagne's impassioned vocals stir in my earbuds whilst I busy myself with breakfast preparations. He appears from his morning ablutions energetically gesticulating through his daily Trump diatribe. No mention of my announcement.

Anger is not usually an emotion that I entertain but this agitated me. To respond with numbing silence after my heartfelt revelation then carry on as if nothing had happened, unlocked a formally dormant fervour within me.

Two people with coffee cups at a table

Fuelled with seething indignation and a readiness to move on, I reinstate my dating app and within a couple of days connect with a potential suitor.

We meet at a cafe in Killarney Heights, considerately selected halfway between our two locations. I take note that as well as being thoughtful, he is more handsome than his image on Bumble represents. My interest is piqued. 

As part of my job as a Portrait Photographer, I've become adept at disarming people very quickly so it wasn't long before we are in an in-depth conversation, about his past life and loves.

He nervously confesses that he has hardly slept. He felt attracted to me and was restless and excited about our meeting. I replied that I wasn't nervous at all as it was just coffee.

    "Surely, you have to acknowledge that whilst friendship is one thing, this process is essentially about the possibility of a relationship including companionship and sex".

I try to hold back my tears but they spill uncontrollably down my cheeks forming little dark blue puddles on my denim skirt. This man had unnerved me. Of course, a loving relationship was what I sought. I had been promised this very love and companionship by a man that I trusted. The man before me is a stranger, how could I possibly do this. Sadly I acknowledge to myself that I am definitely not ready to trust again.

We part politely with him leaving it to me to get in touch. Of course, I won't.

By the time I return to my apartment, I have pulled myself together enough so that when questioned on my whereabouts, I am able to reply confidently, "on a date". More silence. What will it take to get a response from this man? 

A sculpture of a giraffe on a bicycle in Cumnock

We continue along as normal. Our normal.

Having been cut off to visitors during lockdowns, our country towns had suffered economically so we thought it fitting to do a country town circuit and sprinkle around some much-needed custom as we went.

Barrell shaped Letter box with Willy Wally printed on the side
We pass through towns with curious names like Cumnock, Willy Wally, and Goonoo Goonoo which keep him thoroughly entertained, whilst my mispronunciation of Coonabarabran, provides us both with much laughter.

As we go through the motions of our trip, on the surface it appears seemingly reminiscent of our New Zealand days. Though on deeper inspection, it is not at all. Something has shifted for him. He has booked two beds instead of one and has started wearing underpants. His flirtatiousness has turned into amiability. His jovial banter has lost way to contemplation. He is beginning to think about his future and moving on.

Since we met, he has been going through the motions of separating and legally divorcing his wife and now things are coming to a conclusion. Documents will need to be signed and sealed. A clean break order instigated, and joint bank accounts severed. For these things to happen, he needs to return to England.

The subject that had been sidestepped for so long could no longer be avoided. I knew that my upcoming birthday was a way marker for him. The destination he wanted to see me to before making his final departure.

My birthday had been little acknowledged in the past. In fact, I didn't look forward to them at all as they were usually a source of hurt and disappointment. For my ex-husband, mid-July seemed to be a good time to conjure an excuse to travel for work. He'd appear late in the evening, throw a small gift at me, something he'd hastily purchased at the airport no doubt, launch himself into bed beside me and exclaim that he was now ready for my birthday sex.

Until now, my grown children had not acknowledged the day at all. No greeting. No gift. No handmade card. Not a word. They seemed to revel in the control they held, the hurt they knew they were causing.

The day arrived. Following our usual morning exchange, "Niiiiinnnnaaaa" and hug, I was guided to the sofa and asked to wait patiently as he went out to greet our mutual friend and florist who had arrived with an enormous arrangement of natives that he had organised to be delivered. Then one by one, he bestowed one thoughtfully selected gift after another. Not too personal I noted, for fear of sending the wrong message.

We spent the afternoon viewing the beautiful and expansive collection of work in the Biennale of Sydney titled NIRIN at the Museum of Contemporary Art followed by high tea at The Langham Hotel and a walk around Circular Quay.

For me, it was a dream day. How I had longed to have my birthday recognised in such a way. For him, it was a milestone satisfactorily achieved. With this event checked off the list, it was now time to acknowledge the source of discomfort in the pit of both of our stomachs. The subject we had both skillfully avoided for six months. His leaving.

His departure would mean the loss of my companion and friend. For him, it was trepidation about the pain he knew he was about to cause.

Alas, a date was set. He was to leave in a few weeks. Oh, take care my heart.

The story continues here...

Read from the beginning here..

 

THE AUTHOR

Photo of Nina Beilby smiling
As it does, life took a devastating sideways turn for me. With fierce determination, I quit my teaching job, shut down my photography business, packed up my apartment, hired an agent and rented it out on Airbnb, bought a ticket to London and embarked on an adventure of discovery, both about the world and myself. I’ve learned a great deal about people, places and myself. I’m happy that you are here for the ride. Nina x


Where you can find my work...
I will be documenting my travels through photography on Facebook and Instagram. Prints will also be available on my website. If you are interested in following along, here are some of my sites.

Facebook Group - Finding Nina Adventure
Sharing daily adventures from my travels including discoveries about myself and the people around me 

An in-depth look at places I've visited with plenty of travel information from Ireland, France, UK, Iceland and who knows where next.  

Where you can purchase signed, framed limited edition prints of my work.

My professional work as a portrait photographer

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